Fallen Angel – The Beautiful Suicide of Evelyn McHale

In 1846, Edgar Allen Poe wrote that ‘the death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetic topic in the world’ and in saying this he could perhaps have been predicting one of the most famous suicides ever known.

On the 1st May 1947, the below image was captured by photography student, Robert Wiles, four minutes after Evelyn McHale jumped from the observation deck of the Empire State Building. He was alerted to her death when he heard a huge crash – the sound of her body hitting a United Nations limousine – and saw the commotion of the other equally shocked onlookers. Within seconds he had taken this iconic photograph of the 23 year old as she reposed peacefully on a self-made bier of twisted metal and steel.

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